Carolina defense could be stiff

ATHENS – Georgia will face a stiffer defense this weekend when they travel for their Southeastern Conference opener against South Carolina.

The Bulldogs, playing in their home opener scored nearly 50 points against their Division I-AA opponents last weekend. But this week Georgia must deal with a talented front four from South Carolina. With their struggles in Columbia well documented, Carolina's defense, particularly their front four, pose a significant threat to the Bulldog offense.

"Their front four are all returning starters and they have a good core of linebackers," said Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt. "They were able to pressure the quarterback without an overabundance of blitzing."

The Bulldogs only gave up one sack last week to Georgia Southern, which is much better than most of their efforts last season. The Bulldogs lead the SEC in sacks allowed last season. "It's good to talk about something other than that," said center Russ Tanner.

"South Carolina has a great defense, so the offense has to be ready. We can't have many missed assignments. Their defense flies around to the ball. We just have to be ready," said quarterback D.J. Shockley.

Tanner added that the Bulldogs did miss a few assignments against Georgia Southern; he says those must be corrected: "We are going to have to play a much better game to play with a team like South Carolina," Tanner said.

Georgia took advantage of Georgia Southern's secondary on several different occasions last Saturday. Fred Gibson and Reggie Brown, Georgia's starting wide receivers, combined for nine catches, 183 yards, and one touchdown. "They have a couple freshmen safeties that they may be concerned about but they sure did play well in the last ballgame," Richt said.

Richt also admits there could be a challenge running the ball effectively against the Gamecocks. Georgia averaged 6.1 yards per carry last week. "They were able to stop the run without having to pile a lot of guys in the box," he said.

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